May 15 Lower Platte Exploration
John Heiam | Published on 5/15/2020
We checked this out during a rainy day last week. Since all SBDNL accesses are closed, we realized that it would be easy to paddle from the westernmost DNR boat ramp on Big Platte Lake into the Lower Platte River and take out at the boat launch near where the river empties into Lake Michigan. The shuttle route is on low traffic paved back roads, and it is only five miles from the launch site to the end, so it's an easy bike shuttle. Four of us did the paddle, and we decided later that there is little point to doing it that way. Lake Michigan is so high that the river has little to no current all the way from the mouth up to Loon Lake. The river is now almost four times its normal width in many places, which is weird. In some places, it is looks like one big marsh.
Our trip took 2.5 hours of casual paddling, meaning we stopped a lot to take photos, and enjoy the budding foliage, birds, and turtles. When we launched, it was almost 70 degrees, but of course once we got on the river, a wind came off the lake and the temperature dropped to 60, which was still pleasant. This summer, the tubers will be in for a big surprise when they expect the current to carry them along. They will need paddles!
Entering the river from Big Platte Lake
A turtle family shares a small dry spot
The buds on this tree were red
pileated woodpecker tries to hide
This shows how wide the river is below Loon Lake
The boat access at the end. Lois is just getting out, and Marlene is pulling up
A kildeer checks us out - notice all the bugs in the air (they didn't bite)
Caspian terns on the beach
The crew - Marlene, John, Lois, Jocelyn - Thanks to the photographer, Marv